Briefly describe the town of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Maycomb is a small, "tired," fictional town in Alabama. There are many impoverished families in Maycomb, and the town is racially segregated. Many of the citizens are old-fashioned, reluctant to change, and prejudiced. Some of the buildings are dilapidated, and because few people move in or out of Maycomb, the residents are all familiar with one another and many have known each other for generations.

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Maycomb is a fictional town. It is located in Alabama and based on the author Harper Lee's own childhood town, Monroeville, so there is an autobiographical element to its details.

The town is small and possesses a rather rigid class system. Poverty is rampant, with people either struggling to...

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Maycomb is a fictional town. It is located in Alabama and based on the author Harper Lee's own childhood town, Monroeville, so there is an autobiographical element to its details.

The town is small and possesses a rather rigid class system. Poverty is rampant, with people either struggling to make do or already living in bad conditions. Some white families are well-to-do, such as the Finch family, who are essentially American aristocracy due to the respect of their names and their long family history.

The town is also racially segregated. Whites and blacks live in different parts of town and go to different churches, only ever seeming to interact when black citizens work as cooks, handymen, and housekeepers for the whites, or in a worst-case scenario, when black citizens are tossed into some controversy, such as with the case of Tom Robison.

In general, the town is reluctant to embrace change. Everyone seems to accept the classicist, racist, and sexist attitudes that have persisted in Maycomb for generations. When Atticus dares to demand Tom a fair trial or brings up his children in an unconventional way, the town is scandalized by his nonconformist outlook. It is a static, complacent milieu shaken up by the events of the plot.

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The town of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird is actually based on the real town of Monroeville in Monroe County, Alabama, Harper Lee's hometown. It was first settled in 1832 and incorporated in 1899. Widely known as the birthplace of Harper Lee and Truman Capote, it is a major tourist attraction for people interested in those writers.

In the novel, Maycomb is described as a small, insular town in Alabama, suffering from poverty due to the Great Depression. It is very racially segregated, with blacks and whites living in separate areas; the black area of the town was known as the Quarters. Blacks and whites attend different schools and worship at different churches. Whites control positions of power; the mayor, judge, lawyers, and jury are all white. Gender roles are also strongly differentiated in the town.

The town has a single, dilapidated main street with a courthouse, school, and a few basic shops. The town is stagnant, with few people leaving or moving in, meaning that people tend to be very familiar with one another and that stereotypes and cliques persist over decades or even generations.

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At the beginning of the novel, Scout gives a description of her hometown of Maycomb. Scout comments that Maycomb is a tired, small, old town where the streets turn to "red slop" when it rains, and buildings seem to sag. She also describes the extremely hot weather that wilts men's collars and makes people move slowly. In Maycomb, everyone takes their time, and a single day seems longer than twenty-four hours. Due to the Great Depression, most of the citizens are broke and have no money to spend or do anything. Harper Lee's town of Maycomb shares elements of Southern Gothic literature. There is a melancholy atmosphere surrounding the old, worn-out town. People are not lively in Maycomb, and the extreme temperatures affect both humans and animals. Interestingly, like the slow movements of the people and relatively old buildings, the town's prejudice and perception of race also remains unchanged. 

As was mentioned in the previous post, there is one main residential road running through town where most of the citizens live. The courthouse is in the center of the town plaza to the north, and the school is at the opposite end of town next to the deer pasture. The Maycomb Tribune, Tyndal's Hardware, Jitney Jungle, the bank, and the post office all surround the courthouse in the plaza. 

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Maycomb is a small, poor town steeped in traditional Southern values.

The story takes place in the deep South in Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression.  At that time, there was “nothing to buy and no money to buy it with.”  Scout says that people moved more slowly then, because there was nowhere to go.

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. (ch 1)

She goes on to describe how the town has one main residential street, where the Finches live.  There is also a school with two buildings (grammar-school and high school) behind their street, and on the outskirts of town there is a dump with a settlement of poor whites (the Ewells) and blacks.

Everyone in Maycomb cares about what people think.  Atticus says everyone in the town is a friend and neighbor.  It is a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and the people are very set in their ways.  Unfortunately, this includes a great deal of prejudice toward blacks, the poor, and anyone who is different.

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Maycomb is the county seat of Maycomb County, Alabama. This makes it a rather appropriate place for such a high-stakes trial; but it also remains a quintessential small, Southern town. Here's the description from the first chapter:

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself. p.11

Thus we have a place where no one was rushed, and by extension, no change is rushed. Here, radical ideas are slowly considered, which puts Atticus in a difficult situation in his defense of Tom. He is fighting against a deep-seated racism that will not be easily rooted out. Nearly everyone in town knows everyone else, and if they don't, they certainly gossip like they do. There's much speculation and stereotyping going on amongst the families. Finally, there is a strict social hierarchy, based on both race and class. The Finches are near the top, being both white and well-off financially. Others, like the Cunninghams, are looked down upon for their economic hardships in the Depression. Calpurnia, Tom & Helen Robinson, and others black families are at the bottom of the social ladder in the town, due to the institutionalized racism.

It is here that Scout learns wisdom, maturity, and morality, against the backdrob of a small sleepy town.

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